first day, first grade

First day. First grade.

Ava has been waiting for this day for weeks. It was early August when she asked, “When do I go back to school? I want to go back to school!”

She had a great kindergarten year with fantastic teachers, so she was looking forward to being in the first grade.

The big day finally arrived. I packed her new lunch box and filled her water bottle. I cut out a paper heart and wrote her a short note.

Placed her school supplies in a Ziploc bag and slipped them into her backpack.

Ava came out of her room dressed in her back to school outfit. Smile big. She was ready to go to first grade.

Thanks to my obsessive photo taking, I probably have some of the most photographed children on the planet and today was no different. Ava put on her best smiles and poses for me. Her expressions captured a perfect moment in time; the day she started first grade. She looked so grown up for being only six years old.


We arrived at school a short time later and located the her room number written neatly in chalk onto the black top. Kids and parents lined up, she spotted a lot of familiar faces. Ava happily hugged, held hands, and giggled with her friends. Reunited after a busy summer camp schedules and vacations kept them apart.

However, Ava was still waiting for her best friend to arrive. A few minutes later, she spotted her walking up with her dad. She ran up and gave her the biggest hug. They had seen each other over the summer, but were thrilled to be in the same class for the school year.


The bell rang. Ava’s teacher came out and we all filed into the classroom. A cheerful tree greeted us at the door with each child’s name written in the neatest of handwriting. Handwriting only teachers still posses in this day and age of computer typing. A “First Graders are Awesome!” poster caught my eye on the back wall. Ava graduated from the low long tables of kindergarten to a small individual desk with her name neatly taped to the top.

The kids filled the floor in front of the chalkboard. The parents stood at the back, busy taking photos and videos.

Her teacher welcomed us and then graciously said it was time for the mommies and daddies to go home. They had a lot of learning to do!

It was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t expect to get teary-eyed, but I did. I was so proud of her.

As Ava smiled and waved goodbye from her spot on the carpet, I waved back and slowly walked out the door.

When I picked her up later that day, Ava was all smiles and eagerly told me about her day.

She loved her teacher.

She liked her classmates.

She had THREE recesses, not one, like last year.

They were assigned to groups. She was in the red group. Her best friend was in the blue group. There was orange. There was yellow. There was no purple group.

She didn’t have to ask to go to the bathroom.


They didn’t have to eat snack at a table; she ate her snack out in the big kids’ play area. “So, don’t forget to pack my snack in a little plastic bag for me to take to the playground.” she said.

She already received her first homework assignment, an “About Me” page. She needs to answer questions about herself, like “My favorite food is…” and “My favorite thing to do is….”

She said if she keeps her desk clean, a desk fairy will bring her a treat. She whispered with her hand cupped around her mouth, “The desk fairy isn’t real, but I cleaned my desk anyways. I can’t wait to get a treat from my teacher!”

There is a behavior chart. Red dots. Orange dots. Yellow dots. Blue dots. She says you never want yellow dots because that means a note gets sent home to your mom and dad. She says she will always get blue dots, the good behavior color.

Did I mention, she LOVED her teacher?

She shared her day so openly, I deeply appreciate that quality about her.

Off you go my sweet girl.

First grade is going to be amazing!


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